Rams need to move on from Tavon Austin after wideout sees two snaps in playoffs

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

After another disappointing season, the Los Angeles Rams need to do whatever it takes to move on from Tavon Austin.

Before the 2016 NFL season got underway, the Los Angeles Rams made the questionable decision to reward Tavon Austin with a hefty four-year, $42 million extension, with the intention he would emerge as the No. 1 wideout this team was desperately searching for. One of the main reasons why the Rams seemed so high on Austin at the time was due to the fact that he found the end zone 10 total times the year before, but also the team needed improvement from the wideout from a receiving perspective.

While Austin would go on to set a career high in 2016, the 509 receiving yards he recorded when making that kind of money is absolutely embarrassing. And just when it seemed like the former West Virginia couldn’t hit a new low, this past season took place, in which Austin was barely involved at all in Sean McVay‘s system.

In defense, McVay did everything he could to get the best from Austin since when the wideout is on top of his game, the speed he uses can be nearly impossible to keep in contain at times. But unfortunately, not even the addition of an offensive mastermind in McVay at head coach was good enough to finally help Austin live up to his potential after he only caught 13 passes for 47 yards during the regular season. Even if McVay tried using him more as a running back since he failed to make an impact as a receiver, the 270 rushing yards with a touchdown are far from impressive for someone like Austin.

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As mentioned before, McVay deserves credit for all of the effort he put into getting the best from Austin since he even tried to use him on special teams, but unfortunately the constant fumbles became a major issue, and was one of the reasons why he was replaced early on at punt returner. And when it comes to the icing on the cake for all of the frustrations surrounding Austin, nothing tops the fact that his level of play was so bad, McVay almost didn’t even use him during the team’s recent playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

No, using Austin more wouldn’t have resulted in Los Angeles having a better chance to defeat Atlanta since trying to get the wideout involved most likely would have complicated everything even more. If anything, this is just the perfect example of how the Rams need to realize their poor investment in Austin, and simply cut their losses during the offseason since he’s clearly not worth keeping around due to his lack of production.

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Plus, when looking at the current group of receivers Jared Goff had to work with in the passing game, signing Sammy Watkins to a new deal should rank near the top of the list for this team heading into the offseason. If anything, it’s a shame Watkins wasn’t around prior to the 2016 season since the Rams would have been better off using some of Austin’s money on him instead.